The Robert Redford inspired Sundance Channel is running a 13 week series of 30 minute shows discussing various Eco friendly industries and ideas. Airing on Tuesday May/29th at 9pm is Furnish. This episode looks at several strategies being employed to manufacture Eco-friendly furniture.

What could possibly be eco-unfriendly about a chair, I hear you ask? Well the standard manufacturing processes are very wasteful of materials, that are often not easy to recycle after they have reached the end of their useful life, and as a consequence become part of the land fill problem. Also many of the glues and paints in common use are increadibly toxic in nature.

The Green team talks to design engineers  Scott Charon and Gabe Wing of furniture company Herman Miller, and they explore aspects of green design. This company is very concerned with developing sustainable concepts. And in a very aggressive program is striving to make all new lines of furniture 100% sustainable by the year 2020. What I found very interesting was that this company not only tries to ensure that almost 50% of the materials used are themselves recycled, at the design stage a great deal of work is done to ensure that when the product does reach the end of its life, it is easy to disassemble so it in turn can be recycled.

New York based Scrapile is another innovative company. Furniture designers Carlos Salgado and Bart Bettencourt scour their neighbourhood for leftover scrap wood in dumpsters! This is the first time I have ever seen a couple of well dressed and manicured guys dumpster diving, Furnish is worth watching just for that segment. With a pick-up truck full of scrap bits, these guys head back to their studio to cut, glue and sand the pieces into sleek recycled furniture. And make no mistake, the pieces they produce are amazing.

The final segment is about Jaime and Isaac Salm, owners of the Philadelphia-based design firm MIO, who prove that it’s possible to live in “green style” without breaking the bank with their innovative home-product designs.

I am not sure which cable companies carry the Sundance Channel, but if yours does, give The Green: Big Ideas For A Small Planet a try out, not only is it entertaining and informative, you may pick up a few ideas for little things you can do to make a difference.

Simon Barrett

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